February 8, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As I have previously communicated, the leadership team at Cushing Academy continues to monitor the Novel Coronavirus situation, and we have made accommodations to ensure the health and safety of the Academy community.
This week, we met with all of our international students from Greater China to discuss options for spring break. We let them know that we would allow these students to stay on campus or participate in a school-sponsored trip during this time period in March while school is typically closed. We continue to refine these plans and are in communication with our parents in Greater China about what will be offered for their children on campus. We will communicate options to these families soon, and if other countries have a travel advisory issued by the State Department, we will consider adding other international students to this program.
The good news is that our students on campus are healthy at this time. Sue Casey, Director of Health Services, reports that we have not had a diagnosed case of the flu on campus this year, and our student population remains generally healthy. We will continue to be diligent about our prevention practices, which I previously outlined.
We are also continuing our efforts to be especially conservative in our strategies and tactics surrounding this
World Health Organization emergency
. We have worked and continue to consult with medical advisors, legal counsel, board members, and our own team here on campus.
As for the current "Winter Free Weekend," we do not have any students traveling to Asia. Although many students are leaving campus, all have submitted travel plans to our Student Affairs Office and all destinations are, reportedly, outside of affected areas.
Personally, I was scheduled to leave for Vietnam and Thailand today, returning in about a week. The purpose of this trip was to meet with our current parents in these countries, visit with alumni, visit schools and other student referral sources, and interview several students applying for admission in the fall. I have decided to postpone this trip. We also have a current parent who had planned to sponsor an event during the trip with many alumni and current and former parents, but we have canceled this reception, as well. These are all additional measures taken in our conservative approach to this situation.
Currently, there are
12 cases of Coronavirus in the US, with 100 more
tests pending results. Although our chances of having Coronavirus on campus remain low, we do have a plan to screen for, recognize, and treat any cases (or potential cases). This plan is consistent with CDC and other relevant guidance and has also been put into place through regular communication with the infection control nurse at our local hospital.
Lastly, as this is a fluid and evolving situation, should anything change I will continue to update you with steps that the school is taking to maintain a safe and healthy community for our students.
I hope that everyone has a safe, relaxing weekend.
All my best,